Re: Surveilance was: Transhuman fascists?

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Wed Mar 29 2000 - 18:20:38 MST

>From: Dan Fabulich <>
> > I never said it would be a "simple system." It will likely take the
>help of
> > strong AI and nanotech.
>I see. Allow me to refine my argument then.
>You seem to agree with me that a Whole Lot of Data Crunching would be
>necessary to make this system viable. Now, clearly, if I have access to a
>data-cruncher and you don't, even if we both have access to all the
>cameras, I'm getting a lot more use out of the system than you are.
>Indeed, without a data-cruncher, the system is almost useless to you in
>comparison to its utility to me. This point can be generalized: if I can
>crunch data better than you can, then I'll get more use out of the system
>than you can.

I think I addressed this in my earlier reply. You know the bit about "think
distributed computing, intelligent agents reporting back to you" and all

>But let's recall how this point came up in the first place. The assertion
>was that this system would be more useful to someone with more power than
>it would to someone with less power. The reason given was because the
>people with more power would be able to crunch data better, and thereby
>get more use out of the system. You countered that people wouldn't have
>to crunch the data at all. But, clearly, SOMEONE has to crunch the data.
>If you'd have it that a strong AI would do the work, fine, but strong AIs
>require fast processors as their substrate. Whoever owns the processors
>owns the results which this AI would put out. This someone will be the
>powerful, and not the weak.

I addressed this earlier too. You know, (1) it doesn't matter who's running
the system as long as its sufficiently and verifiably transparent (2) the
web analogy ("tons of data, hardly any data crunching") (3)
government-civilian oversight committees, etc., etc.

> > In a truly transparent society there would be no "despots" unless we the
> > people collectively decided to turn our fates over to a despot. I don't
> > know about you, but I ain't voting for any despots anytime soon.
>"But I am your king!" "Well, I didn't vote for you."
>Look, I'm trying to be civil here, but I can't make any sense of this
>claim. How the hell do you think despots get to power, anyway? By
>popular vote? They sure as hell don't go around knocking on doors and
>kissing babies and asking for your support. Instead, they kick someone's
>ass, and then make the plausible claim that they'll kick the ass of anyone
>who tries to harm them. Nobody "turns their fates over to a despot."
>They simply don't rise up, out of fear that they'll be squashed like a bug
>if they do.

Sure I might be worried about that if I lived someplace other than the US or
sometime other than 2000 a.d. But the fact of the matter is that if you
plan to take over the US and overturn our democratic republic you will have
to (1) control the military and (2) somehow convince the military to (a)
attack their friends and families and (b) do away with the civil liberties
that we as a society have fought and died to preserve for over 200 years,
all for the privilege of being able to call you King.

How would you *possibly* do that? How could you possibly form the military,
economic and strategic alliances necessary to accomplish that ludicrous goal
in a transparent society without somebody getting wind of what you're up to
and ruining your party?

>Despotism doesn't, at any step of the picture, rely on secrecy in any way
>whatsoever. On the contrary, perfect transparency is in the despot's best

What?!? Are you kidding?? How long do you think Saddam Hussein would stay
in power in a transparent society? I'll tell you, approximately 2 minutes.
The despot keeps the populace in constant fear because they never know who
to trust because your neighbor might be one of the despot's secret police
henchmen. Why do you think every oppressive, despotic government *always*
*ALWAYS* has a secret police. Why do you think that establishing the secret
police is one of the *first* things a totalitarian government does? Why do
you think they call secret police "secret?" How would you set up a "secret"
police force in a *transparent* society?

>That way you can be quite confident that when the despot
>claims that he'll squash you like a bug, he *really will* squash you like
>a bug. Knowing that someone is a despot does not help you get rid of the
>despot in any way whatsoever.

Sure, but knowing who his sympathizers are and who the opposition is, and
the fact that the opposition outnumbers the despot and his henchmen will
give you a hint as to what to do to regain your freedom, don't ya think?


"I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
--Thomas Jefferson

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